You could say LeBron James got his hunger back Sunday when he delivered a performance for the ages.
The three-time NBA MVP put the Miami Heat on his back and carried his team to 103-93 victory at Indiana. Check out his final statistics: 40 points, 18 rebounds, nine assists. Those type of numbers haven’t been seen in the playoffs since Elgin Baylor pulled it off five decades ago. Magic Johnson called it “one of the best he’s ever seen.” That’s high praise coming from a guy who holds the NBA record for most triple-doubles in the playoffs.
So what motivated LeBron to play hungry in a must-win game for the Heat? Take a close look at this screen grab of LeBron in the locker room courtesy of ABC Sports taken before the start of Game 4 between the Heat and Pacers. Click on the photo to enlarge.
James’ choice for reading material was the bestselling book by Suzanne Collins, “The Hunger Games.” James said afterwards that he has yet to finish the book, but obviously he soaked enough chapters to find his inner Katniss Everdeen.
He played with passion and hunger Sunday against the Pacers, playing nearly the entire game (44 minutes) and was absolutely spectacular on both ends of the court: scoring in the paint, gobbling seemingly every rebound, setting up teammates for easy shots, and locking up Danny Granger with suffocating defense. About the only thing LeBron didn’t do was shoot an arrow through the crowd. It was a complete performance from the most complete player in the game.
And Heat fans can thank “The Hunger Games” for providing him with the extra edge he needed to complete the task of tying up the series.